Music / The Struggle

In the 1980s The Genuines (“South Africa’s only black rock band“) ruled protest band music in Cape Town. (They had some competition from jazzmen Robbie JansenBasil Coetzee and  to some extent from white rockers Bright Blue). The Genuines consisted of the very talented Mac McKenzie (bass and leader), Hilton Schilder (keyboard player), Gerard O’Brien (guitar) and Ian Herman (drummer). It’s McKenzie’s music and he co-wrote the lyrics with Robbie Jansen. Not many of their music videos are online and their albums are hard to find. The internet contains a few videos of McKenzie,  Schilder and Herman (later of Tananas and in San Francisco). But those are of them post-Genuines. McKenzie and Schilder still occasionally collaborate, though Schilder has struggled with illness lately. However, recently the video for The Genuines’ “Die Struggle” (translated from Afrikaans: The Struggle) has surfaced on Youtube.  The editor of the original music video had decided to post it after it was partially featured in the new documentary, “Mama Goema: The Cape Town Beat in Five Movements.”  The song, mostly in Afrikaans, driven by a frenetic goema beat is brilliant. The lyrics and the video references the battlegrounds of 1980s Cape Town: Athlone, Elsies River, Crossroads, Gugulethu, Khayelitsha.

Added bonus: At the end of the video we hear  a police order (voiced by an actor?) to protesters to disperse (looks like Belgravia Road in Athlone?). One of the protesters screams back: “Julle moer jong.” No translation needed.



Sean Jacobs

Also goes by Hasan Wazan. Life President.

  1. Cool video. Thanks.

    The Genuines got together for and performed an abbreviated set at this year's Cape Town Jazz Festival. It was a delight to see that most of the old fire is still there.

    Also, there's a lengthy video clip of an interview with them done at the Jazz Festival. I think John Edwin Mason might have that clip at his blog.

  2. @Sean:
    There is another longer video from a press conference. I guess I had it confused with the one on John's blog. Sorry about that. I will check the Mail&Guardian site next since they were running the press conferences at the festival.

  3. In a fine and slightly amazing coincidence, Mac McKenzie and I just read this post while sitting around a table in his house Bridgetown (Cape Town).

    Mac likes it a lot and says thanks for the props, but he has a correction and a coment.

    He played bass, not guitar, with the Genuines.

    The song's music is his. He and Robbie Jansen collaborated on the lyrics (late one night, in, shall we say, a relaxed mood).

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